Selfstudyhistory.com’s interview of Anshuman Raj (Rank- 107/ CSE 2019) [History Optional]
Profile of the Candidate
|Rank in Civil Services Exam 2019||107|
|Total attempts in Civil Services Examination (including present one)||4|
|Medium for History Optional||English|
|Marks in History Optional in Earlier Examinations (Mention marks in Paper I and II)||2nd attempt
Paper 1- 135
Paper 2- 147
|Any past Work-experience||5 years as marine engineering officer in Anglo eastern ship management. Hong Kong|
|Were you preparing full time or working and preparing?||Working till 2018, after that full time preparation|
|Your place of preparation||Home|
|Details of other success and failure in competitive exams|
|Details of coaching/ test series/ study material of any coaching used for History Optional||
I studied history completely by myself, no coachings. Study material used are
1. IGNOU BA
2. Balyan’s handwritten notes
5. Other standard books
|Percentage marks in class X||87.6|
|Percentage marks in class XII||83.4|
|Name of the subject in Graduation course and percentage marks||B-TECH (Marine Engineering), 75%|
|Name of college of graduation and place||Marine engineering and research institute Kolkata|
|Passing out year||2013|
|Post-graduation if any|
|Did your educational Background help in History Optional?||No|
Tell us something about yourself.
I am Anshuman raj, from Buxar bihar. I have done my schooling from JNV (Jawahara Navodaya Vidyalaya) Buxar and JNV Ranchi. After graduation I worked with anglo eastern ship management company, Hong Kong for around 5 years. Currently I am working as assistant commissioner, IRS (C& CE). I like reading books, shayaris and chess.
Questions Related to History Optional
Why did you choose history as your optional subject?
I developed an interest in history while reading non-fictions in my college. When I started preparation, I thought it would be a good idea since I had some background knowledge to begin with. Moreover, I thought that history can be managed without coaching (which I couldn’t afford anyhow)
Mention positive and negative about the History Optional for those who what to take history optional.
- Its quite interesting if one likes to read about human history, you won’t get bored that’s for sure.
- Useful for GS1 and prelims
There are so many that its difficult to count, but still
- Way too long syllabus, will consume lot of time.
- You have to refer to so many comprehensive sources that its very difficult to retain all that knowledge.
- Contrary to popular belief history is quite dynamic and some times questions in mains might be quite surprising.
- Sources for maps are quite limited.
Mention booklist and sources which you followed for History Optional.
- Ancient India – Upinder Singh, RS Sharma, IGNOU BA.
- Medieval India – Satish Chandra, IGNOU BA.
- Modern India – Bipin Chandra, spectrum.
- World History- Norman Lowe
- Maps- self study history.
- other common sources- Hemant jha’s notes, Balyan’s handwritten notes, self study history previous year solved questions.
How did you prepare for Map Portion?
- I devoted 30 minutes daily for maps, used self study history exclusively. Solved previous 5 years papers and revised it multiple times.
How much time per day you used to give the history optional during your preparation (both before and after prelims)?
- 3-4 hour daily
Did you do answer writing regularly? If yes, what amount of time you devoted to it and how did it help you?
- I used to write 5 GS questions daily in time bound manner. Apart from it every week I used to write one full length GS , one optional and one essay paper.
Did you maintain self-notes? If yes, how did it help you?
- Yes I used to prepare micro notes in a way that I can revise it in shortest minimum time. They helped me improve my marks as I wrote more specifically rather than writing in abstract.
- Have you solved previous years papers of history optional? Did it help you in the examination?
- No I couldn’t solve them, but I read solutions from this website (selfstudyhistory.com).
In your views, how the nature of questions asked in history optional changed in recent years?
- Questions have become more dynamic. UPSC wants to know how deep our understanding really is. It is not about reproducing knowledge but often about justifying it. We have seen a shift towards sub-Altran history where questions about women, farmers, vernaculars are finding place in question paper.
Any specific thing you want to share about history optional?
- Kindly research thoroughly before opting for history. It is not only lengthy but also demanding. I have seen that people often have misconception that in history questions are repeated, which is not true for current pattern. History is a beautiful subject and requires your complete attention, superficial knowledge might not help you fetch marks as we see in some other optionals.